Should I remove my wisdom teeth?

31st August 2013

You should have 28 teeth (as long as none have been removed). If you have more than 28, you have wisdom teeth or third molars. If you have no space for these extra teeth, they become ‘impacted’ and food can get caught in between them as they are hard to clean. This can then lead to gum infections or tooth decay.

Low grade infections can be treated with regular warm salty rinses and an antiseptic like Corosdyl used twice a day. If you have a temperature, find it uncomfortable to swallow or your gland under the corner of your jaw is swollen or tender, then antibiotics are advised as they will make it return to normal quicker. Rarely cysts can develop around wisdom teeth.

The removal of wisdom teeth is one of the most common operations carried out in the UK. They are usually removed due to recurrent infections (Pericoronitis) around your wisdom teeth. National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) produced some guidelines for dentists to decide when to remove wisdom teeth. Generally if you have had more than one infection that needed to be treated, it is better to remove them when you are young and healthy as there are less complications than when you leave it for later in life.

The majority of wisdom teeth are removed under local anaesthetic and you can continue with your normal life afterwards (just no exercise for the rest of the day). If you do get any swelling, it will be worse the day after the procedure so we generally advise having an easy day the next day or have it taken out on a Friday so that you have the weekend to recover. We can offer oral sedation or intravenous sedation if you would prefer that but someone needs to collect you at the end of the day (plus no driving for 24 hours). Often your insurance will cover the cost of removing an “impacted” wisdom tooth but some companies only authorise claims if the procedure is carried out by an “Oral Surgeon”; we can refer you when necessary.

If in doubt get your Bow Lane Dental Dentists to check how your wisdom teeth are looking.

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